Burning Sage

You may be thinking, “It’s finally happened. This mental health blog has taken a turn in the direction of woowoo.”

Bear with me.

Today, I’m gonna share about some of the history and possible benefits of burning sage, an herb known for its fragrance.

Recently, I learned that my therapist burns sage in her office each morning before seeing clients. She does energy work (including reiki) and burns sage as a purification practice. When I mentioned in a session that I’ve been getting a bad energy (negative headspace, lethargy, apathy) from my apartment in recent months, she suggested I try burning sage… and even provided me with all the necessary supplies!

Before I talk about my experience with sage, I want to provide a little background history.

Apparently, “sage” derives from the Latin word, “salvia,” which means, “to be healthy.” Sage itself has been used as a household remedy for a number of ailments for centuries; for example, the ancient Egyptians used it to treat stomach issues and to improve memory. Native Americans have historically burned sage as a cleansing ritual. Scientifically speaking, most of the studies related to sage are animal studies with sage extract (not the burning/incense method discussed herein). With that in mind, the animal studies have found some anxiety, depression, and digestive benefits of sage (Source: WebMD).

Upon being gifted with the sage and the pottery to burn it in, I tried it out in my apartment. I walked the perimeter of the rooms and enjoyed the fragrance. I’m not sure if the sage has a placebo effect, but I can attest that I felt less negative energy and more optimistic.

Though this topic is a bit more spiritual/pseudoscientific than my norm, I enjoyed adding sage burning to my self-care practice. I think I’ll start burning sage during my daily meditations. The scent is definitely soothing, and if all of the benefits are true as well, then awesome!

Have you ever tried burning incense or herbs? Share with me in a comment!

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